'It could have had catastrophic consequences' Two injured after truck's wheel comes loose on Stoney Trail
A serious crash along Stoney Trail prompted police to close a section of the northeast roadway for several hours on Thursday morning and prompted a reminder to transport companies and their drivers to ensure the legally mandated safety inspections are conducted.
The crash happened on Stoney Trail N.E., between Metis and Deerfoot Trails, at about 7:40 a.m. Police a tire came off of a transport truck leading to separate crashes in both the westbound and eastbound lanes.
EMS transported two people to hospital.
“Two people were injured but those injuries are relatively minor, thankfully,” said Sgt. Colin Foster of the Calgary Police Service collision reconstruction unit. "We were lucky but it could have had catastrophic consequences."
Foster says the wheel from the commercial truck was likely travelling at highway speed after coming loose and the impact could have been devastating if it had collided with an oncoming vehicle travelling at a similar rate of speed.
“When you’re looking at a wheel that separates from a commercial vehicle, they’re quite large, they’re quite heavy, they’re moving at the speed of the vehicle when it separated," said Foster. "You’re talking about Stoney Trail. It’s going about 100 kilometres an hour, if that’s the speed we’re doing, and you’ve got another vehicle coming the other direction. If they’re doing 100 kilometres an hour, that’s 200 kilometres an hour closing distance. That can have a devastating effect.”
The westbound lanes of Stoney Trail and the ramps from Deerfoot Trail onto westbound Stoney Trail have been reopened. Eastbound Stoney Trail was closed for most of the morning and was reopened just before noon.
Foster says wheel separations are uncommon but he is aware of two occurrences in Calgary in 2018. Neither incident resulted in injuries.
"If you think about the stress and strain that’s put on those wheel hubs and the nuts and bolts to keep that wheel on, there’s a tremendous amount of strain," explained Foster who also serves as a commercial vehicle safety inspector. "That’s why we’re quite rigorous that when we do our inspections we’re making sure that the tires are securely fitted. It’s also incumbent on the drivers to make sure that when they do their pre-trip inspections, that they are making sure that the wheel studs are tightened up properly.”
The investigation into Thursday morning's incident is ongoing and police have not determined if charges are warranted.